Unicoi Outfitters is north Georgia's premier guide service and fly fishing outfitter, located on the Chattahoochee River near alpine Helen. Look for fishing reports, gear and book reviews, and general musings here from our staff and guides.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Unicoi Outfitters Fishing Report - 11/5/21

We are drying out, but will remain chilly for a few more days until afternoon highs aim toward  70 degrees next week. The region only received about a half-inch of rain, so streams will still be low and clear.  Stealth, lighter tippet, and small, natural (dark) nymph patterns will continue to be your best producers. Think “deep” for trout and continue to hope for “shallow” on stripers.

Get ready for some leaves, too, as each wind gust will deliver a wave of them into your drift line.  Keep our leaf-detour tips in mind. They were in last month’s copy of The Angler Magazine-Atlanta edition.


Private waters are fishing very well - once you figure out the fish.  Low, clear water has dictated lighter tippets and small, natural nymphs and wets on perfect drifts along the bottom. Right now a good technique is trumping fly pattern, so refine your a) indicator depth and b) amount of weight before c) changing your fly pattern.  Just use Wes’ recommended patterns on a drag-free drift  and you’ll score.

More tips and a few angler reports  are in our long version on Facebook and at blog.angler.management.

After you enjoy that extra hour of sleep from the time change, call or come by either UO store for your fall fishing intel and supplies. Good luck!

Unicoi Outfitters:




The Details:

Wes’ Hot Fly List:

Dries: Stimulator, parachute Adams, BWO.

Nymphs: Hares ear, split case BWO, peach egg, rainbow warrior, root beer midge, frenchie, pheasant tail.

Streamers & warmwater:

Muddy buddy, sparkle minnow, clouser minnow, finesse changer, woolly buggers for fresh DH stockers.

GA Trout Waters:

Headwaters will be chilly, so I’d expect a slow (nonexistent?) topwater bite. Blueliners may do better on their #16 or 18 nymphs or beaded soft hackles dropped 18” under their dry fly. Topwater action might pick up a bit during next week’s warmer afternoons.

Recall that GAWRD stocked Vogel Lake and the Blue Ridge tailwaters last week, giving you a couple more shots at stockers.


GA DH streams were stocked this week and the catch&release regs are now in effect.  Thanks to GA and SCDNR’s, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service for this week’s cooperative stocking efforts. In fact, I think the Border Bird finishes its flights today.


Those fresh “dumplings” will be podded up in the slow tails of pools, looking for a uniform with a bucket and a handout. Bright colors, flash, and movement of your flies will attract some strikes from these naive fish. For folks new to these streams, WRD has some great maps on its trout fishing web page. Just scroll down the page to Special Regs and click on the stream names.


Given these fresh DH stockers, it’s a great time to tie on a small black woolly bugger to a new flyfisher’s rig and turn him/her on to the sport. Cover some ground, as it will be famine between stocking spots and feasts at them until high water spreads the fish out.

North Georgia Trout Online (NGTO) had a couple of recent reports.

“FishingPreacher” posted a nice Smith DH trip report that’s  worth a look. Hillis shared his Dukes Creek results and hot flies from his recent Smithgall excursion.


NC Streams:

Angler reports indicate these streams are still fishing well. Wild fish are always smart, while NC stockers have been “angler-enlightened” for a month and are now much more discerning. A good drift along the bottom with small, natural nymphs will produce the best. Be on the lookout for a few bugs during warm afternoons and you might score a few bonus fish on top. 

With an extra thousand feet of elevation, most NC stream fisheries run 1-2 weeks ahead of ours for fall weather, and the same interval behind us for spring. That’s great!  We use this info to kick-start our fall trouting earlier and to extend our spring trouting longer. And in the dead of winter, we’re focused on GA streams that are running a few, crucial degrees warmer than the high-elevation stuff.

Right now, NC waters are a little colder and probably carrying more leaves.  It’s still a great time to hit the Smokies or some national forest streams for wild fish. Check the Luftee, notice the chilly temps, and trade your dries for nymphs.


Fires, Nantahala, and the Tuckaseegee DH waters are within striking distance of many north Georgians. Dedicated road/trippers have also enjoyed Big Snowbird. Find them here:


Private Waters:

UO Helen manager Wes:

“I did a trip at Nacoochee Bend earlier this week. The water is starting to get low and the fish are wising up to the bold flies. Small naturals like Hares ears, root beer midges, and pheasant tails worked best for my guests.”

I stopped by the Bend last night and ran into three clients finishing up their unguided trip. The trio had a great time, landing a good number of chunky rainbows on a variety of patterns: eggs, rubberleg stones, and small nymphs.


Stripers have still been spotty on top. Surface waters have to cool some more to get baitfish, stripers, and spots up to fly casting range consistently. Watch Capt Mack’s reports for recent trends:


GA Retreat:


“My wife surprised me with a little trip back to where it all started for US 19 years ago up in Big Canoe. She told me to pack a bag AND bring a rod. As any good husband does,  he obliges his better half! 

We had a great time exploring all the trails and parks amongst Big Canoe's 8000+acres. This place is huge!  Beyond the 3 lakes inside Big Canoe,  1 is known to have large rainbow trout.  There are also several little creeks with access along hiking trails. 

I brought my 7' 3wt glass rod, some tippet  and a box of flies to see what I could get into. I probably didn't fish much more  than a hour collectively. I managed a half dozen pretty little Coosa bass and just as many Hornyheads to hand, all on top and on either a Royal Coachman or an orange Stimulator.  Little Creek bass eating on top on a 3wt glass = an absolute blast! 

Long walks thru the woods exploring creeks and waterfalls, cozy tree topper cabin with great views, warm fire, good food and time with my lady was the perfect way to recharge the ole' batteries. “


My high school buddy and fellow angling addict, Steve, sent me a few pics from his recent Cape Cod trip. He said he landed three and sent me pics of the “smallest” one. Glad he tied good knots!  But I don’t think it hit a blue wing olive…

Enjoy the photo.

That’s the latest fishing news from north Georgia on this very fine day for a parade. Thank you Braves. 

May all of you have a Freddie Freeman moment astream. Don’t forget a net, a camera, and a good friend to celebrate your own home run.

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